NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20000057062: Validation of an All-Pressure Fluid Drop Model: Heptane Fluid Drops in Nitrogen
Publication date 2000-01-01
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), MODELS, NITROGEN, VISUAL OBSERVATION, TRANSPORT PROPERTIES, DROP SIZE, CRITICAL PRESSURE, PROVING, PRESSURE REDUCTION, SUPERCRITICAL FLUIDS, SIMULATION, REFRACTIVITY, OPTICAL MEASUREMENT, LIQUIDS, INFERENCE, HYDROCARBONS, HEPTANES, FUEL COMBUSTION, DIESEL ENGINES, COMBUSTION CHAMBERS, Harstad, K., Bellan, J.,
Despite the fact that supercritical fluids occur both in nature and in industrial situations, the fundamentals of their behavior is poorly understood because supercritical fluids combine the characteristics of both liquids and gases, and therefore their behavior is not intuitive. There are several specific reasons for the lack of understanding: First, data from (mostly optical) measurements can be very misleading because regions of high density thus observed are frequently identified with liquids. A common misconception is that if in an experiment one can optically identify "drops" and "ligaments", the observed fluid must be in a liquid state. This inference is incorrect because in fact optical measurements detect any large change (i.e. gradients) in density. Thus, the density ratio may be well below Omicron(10(exp 3)) that characterizes its liquid/gas value, but the measurement will still identify a change in the index of refraction providing that the change is sudden (steep gradients). As shown by simulations of supercritical fluids, under certain conditions the density gradients may remain large during the supercritical binary fluids mixing, thus making them optically identifiable. Therefore, there is no inconsistency between the optical observation of high density regions and the fluids being in a supercritical state. A second misconception is that because a fluid has a liquid-like density, it is appropriate to model it as a liquid. However, such fluids may have liquid-like densities while their transport properties differ from those of a liquid. Considering that the critical pressure of most fuel hydrocarbons used in Diesel and gas turbine engines is in the range of 1.5 - 3 MPa, and the fact that the maximum pressure attained in these engines is about 6 Mps, it is clear that the fuel in the combustion chamber will experience both subcritical and supercritical conditions. Studies of drop behavior over a wide range of pressures were performed in the past, however none of these studies identified the crucial differences between the subcritical and supercritical behavior. In fact, in two of these studies, it was found that the subcritical and supercritical behavior is similar as the drop diameter decreased according to the classical d(exp 2)-law over a wide range of pressures and drop diameters. The present study is devoted to the exploration of differences in fluid-behavior characteristics under subcritical and supercritical conditions in the particular case of heptane fluid drops in nitrogen; these substances were selected because of the availability of experimental observations for model validation.
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